Life changed for all of us in early 2020, a long two years ago now, with the outbreak and rapid spread of Covid-19. Our UK Stock Story this month features EMIS Group, which was the first UK health-tech provider to launch a software system to support the NHS in the largest vaccination programme in its history.
Although the world has battled pandemics before, this one received an unprecedented response from governments, healthcare providers, businesses and individuals.
Governments and large pharmaceutical companies rushed to develop, test and deliver suitable vaccines and, here at home, the first jab was administered on 8th December 2020 to Margaret Keenan at University Hospital in Coventry. Closely involved from the very start of the vaccination programme was a software system provided by a business called Pinnacle, which is a division of EMIS Group PLC - a company whose shares we hold in our Castlefield B.E.S.T Sustainable UK Opportunities and Income funds invests. The software, which was delivered within an impressive eight-week timeframe and continues to evolve through the roll-out of the booster vaccination drive, was built using the IT system Outcomes4Health.
Outcomes4Health provided a national point of care vaccination system, which was ready by day one of the vaccination programme and, for the first seven months, was the only system available for use. It was used by all healthcare professionals delivering vaccinations outside of hospital settings to capture immunisation details and then share this information with GPs and the National Immunisation Management Service (NIMS). The direct link with NIMS meant that crucial vaccination status information could be shared with patients via the NHS App or Patient Access and the company developed new software functionality to allow automated filing of vaccination data.
As of November 2021, Outcomes4Health has been deployed in almost 1,400 UK vaccination centres and, by last month, it had supported over 75 million vaccinations (77% of the total) as well as underpinning the NHS daily reporting on vaccination take-up. Through Outcomes4Health, EMIS also helped to administer over 2.2m flu vaccinations in England during 2020.
AIM-listed EMIS Group PLC is a UK leader in connected healthcare software and systems. Established in 1987 and based in West Yorkshire, EMIS provides technology solutions for the NHS and the B2B healthcare industry. The company was originally established to serve General Practitioners, where it now has a market share of 57% of UK practices. These days, EMIS has two divisions; EMIS Health, which supplies integrated care technology to the NHS, including primary, community, acute and social care, while EMIS Enterprise is a business-to-business software provider to the healthcare market, including medicines management, partner businesses, patient-facing services and healthcare analytics.
EMIS has developed a broad range of products serving the community healthcare market, the acute sector and community pharmacies. The company strategy is to provide connected healthcare solutions to facilitate patient-centric care. Today EMIS Group’s products and services are used by 10,000 healthcare organisations across the UK.
In addition to helping mobilise the Covid-19 vaccination programme, EMIS also played a key role in the research which identified the 1.5 million people most at risk from the disease and who needed to be prioritised for early vaccination. This research also raised public awareness of key Covid-19 risk factors such as age, ethnicity and body mass index, as well as certain medical conditions and treatments.
Away from the vaccination programme, EMIS employees also recognised the societal damage wrought by the pandemic. Last year, the company donated over a thousand items of IT equipment, including laptops, desktops, printers, monitors and projectors, to the children’s charity Transforming Lives for Good (TLG). The initiative began in early 2020 at the start of the pandemic, when school children were forced to study remotely. With many poorer children not having access to any IT equipment at home, EMIS contacted TLG to arrange a series of donations to support children with digital access at TLG Education Centres. The hope is that school children benefitting from the scheme will be less disadvantaged by the long, enforced break from classroom study when normality eventually returns.
Information is accurate as at 14.01.2022. Opinions constitute the fund manager’s judgement as of this date and are subject to change without warning. The officers, employees and agents of CIP may have positions in any securities mentioned herein. This material may not be distributed, published or reproduced in whole or in part. With investment, capital is at risk.